Two Premier League fixtures will be staged at 12:30pm tomorrow, leaving many fans very confused.
Having initially been scheduled for a 3pm kick off, Aston Villa’s trip to Manchester United will take place 2 and a half hours before, clashing with Chelsea’s huge match with Manchester City at Stamford Bridge.
Finally, after a period of rumours and uncertainty, United confirmed why this was the case earlier this month.
“Our home match against Aston Villa on 25 September has been brought forward to a 12.30 BST kick-off, following a request from Trafford Council Safety Advisory Group to move the game due to The Courteeners concert at Lancashire Cricket Club, Emirates Old Trafford, on the same day.
“This request was supported by Greater Manchester Police and TfGM to avoid significant crowd, traffic and operational issues locally.
“We regret any disruption that this may cause around our supporters’ plans for the day.”
Whilst peculiar, this is not the most unusual reason why a game in this country has had to be moved or postponed.
In 1999, Devon Police called off a League Cup match at Plainmoor because of an influx of tourists to see the solar eclipse on the south coast. Moreover, in 2015 a match between Frome Town and Chippenham Town was shifted to a later date because of concerns it might clash with the annual Frome Cheese Show.
Both of tomorrow’s matches are huge tests for all four sides. Whilst Manchester United are in need of a quick response following their Carabao Cup exit in midweek, Aston Villa are on the up after thrashing Everton last Saturday and will know a win against Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s side will breathe life into an indifferent start to the campaign.
Meanwhile, Chelsea, fresh from progressing in the cup and demolishing Tottenham last Sunday, know that a win against the reigning Premier League champions will send a huge statement out to the rest of the top flight. City, however, will be keen on revenge after losing last year’s Champions League final to Thomas Tuchel’s men.